General Synod: Surprisingly Exhausting — and Glad!

by Larry Gipson
Kirkwood United Church of Christ, Atlanta

I write this entry from the Baltimore Convention Center, where 2,751 UCC-ers from across the country have gathered together to praise God, address the business of the church, and encounter about the incredible diversity of our denomination. I’ve just heard Starsky Wilson and Traci Blackmon bring down the house in their calls for us to pursue justice by taking down the balconies that keep “them” away form “us.”

I’ve just witnessed ten youth from Standing Rock receive Movement Makers Awards for their fearless defense of their land and water, a reminder of our universal human need for Living Water. I’ve just laughed and cried as Glennon Doyle Melton spoke of her journey through addiction and self-hatred toward activism and love of self, neighbor, and God. I am proud to be part of this denomination with such wonderful and wild Jesus followers.

At the same time, I must admit that Synod has proven surprisingly exhausting. For the past two days, I’ve gotten less than five hours of sleep because of late-night social mixers with 20s and 30s clergy and early morning caucusing with the other delegates of the Southeast Conference. Last night I was hoping to go to bed early, but my committee meeting on disability justice ended up going on for nearly three hours — and we still need to meet together on Sunday to finish amending our resolution!

The opening days of the thirty first General Synod have brought to light the beauty and messiness of our wonderful denomination. I can’t wait to see what the next few days bring.